Swisscom to Suggest Sharing Costs with Competitors on Laying Fibre Optics in Switzerland

Swisscom AG chief executive Carsten Schloter has suggested sharing costs with competitors on laying fibre optics in Switzerland, a move which he describes as making both business and economic sense.

Schloter told Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung that if the telecommunications group were to lay fibre optics in a particular street for a particular building, it would inform its competitors.

'We would tell them, we are going to tear up the roads, and offer to share costs with them, for them to lay their own fibre optics at the same time,' he said, adding that he would expect competitors to do the same.

He pointed to a precedent in Paris where a model was developed that compels service providers to take on such a project together and to split costs.

Asked if there has already been reaction on this suggestion, Schloter revealed that 'first informal dialogues have already taken place'.

'There is great interest We will explore our model with the regulatory authorities,' he said.

He said that he expects the first households to be hooked up to the ultra high-speed network by the end of next year.

'The speed would be around 100 megabits per second for upload and download. That is five times faster than the fastest internet connection currently,' he said.

Asked how satisfied he was with Fastweb, an Italian firm in which Swisscom has a majority stake, Schloter noted the value of the Fastweb stock is low for several reasons, including the fact that it recently paid out a dividend.

In addition, a decision on regulations in Rome, which could influence business results, was delayed.

He pointed to Fastweb's 50 pct growth in Ebitda, and said the outlook stays unchanged.

Overall for Swisscom, he said that with exceptional items removed, the firm's operating results are 'solid'.

In addition, when viewed against competitors in Switzerland, he noted that the development of the business is 'an appealing result against a generally declining market'.

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